Bournemouth expert view: ‘Best team performance under Iraola’

Mark Mitchener, BBC Sport

Bournemouth head into the international break in upbeat mood after a game when everything seemed to click during the win against Newcastle.

Yes, the Magpies have a lengthy injury list – drawn into sharp focus when Lewis Miles (squad number 67 and making his first Premier League start) was replaced by Ben Parkinson (squad number 63) for his maiden appearance for the first team.

Yet there is the old adage that you can only beat the team put in front of you, while it will not be lost on Bournemouth’s fans that potentially their entire first-choice midfield trio – Tyler Adams, Alex Scott and Philip Billing – were all ruled out by injury. Adams and Scott, recruited in the summer for a combined cost not far short of £50m, are not expected to return until 2024.

However, deprived of Scott and Billing from the XI that started against Manchester City, boss Andoni Iraola’s surprise selection involved picking Justin Kluivert in the number 10 role, while deploying Ryan Christie in a deeper position from which he thrived.

Fresh from signing a new contract in midweek, Christie was at his ‘Duracell bunny’ best, covering every blade of grass in what most observers agreed was Bournemouth’s best team performance under Iraola.

Dominic Solanke’s form has not gone unnoticed, either, with the striker equalling last season’s tally of six Premier League goals from the first 12 games of this campaign.

Fans will hope this was the game from which Iraola’s Cherries can kick on after finally showing the form of which they are capable.


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